Neither The Man About the Place nor I go shopping, as a general rule, on Black Friday. We usually spend the day at home, cracking the whip on the kids to get them to clean up their mess, or we watch TV. Sometimes I work, sometimes I don’t.
This Black Friday, He was busy “stringing up the lights” on our beautiful porch, and I was alternating between laundry, making the living room look as if humans who don’t hoard actually inhabit the place, and organizing our DVD collection into albums (separated by genre, which is quite angst-inducing when you have an action adventure that is also a sci-fi comedy…)
Anyway, at the end of our long day, I suggested we go out to eat to celebrate our clean living room and twinkling porch (because we are Americans, and the best way to celebrate
is, naturally, with food.) We went to Panera Bread, which in St. Louis is known as St. Louis Bread. We figured that out because the logo is the same. I really think it should be called St. Louis Bread Co. everywhere, because that’s where it all began, you know? Then we found out some dude company bought out St. Louis Bread Co. in the 1990s, and there you go. Well, whatever it’s called, it’s still our favorite place to eat and we even get to randomly meet up with college chums like Ben and Cathy Peterson when we go there.
After we ate, I got it into my head that it was a travesty that we do not own A Christmas Story OR Holiday Inn. Rather than go home and order from Amazon like sensible folks, I suggested to He that we go to Kmart (and avoid Walmart craziness.) Filled with the creamy goodness of Panera’s (ST. LOUIS!) creamy tomato soup and the scrumptious Sierra Turkey sandwich, He was agreeable.
Pulling up, we found the exterior a little “off putting” for some reason. Just felt uneasy. Figured it was just part of being in the Scranton area at night and shrugged it off. Inside, the store was clean, bright…and pretty deserted. There were very few folks about; something which should have made me, someone constantly in a quasi-pre-agoraphobic state this time of year, glad…but instead, it creeped me out.
There must have been a killer sale on DVDs, because the section was wiped out and of course, no A Christmas Story to be found, except in Blu-ray. He was wandering around and we met up and decided together that this store was really creepy, and it had nothing to do with the fact that the only DVD I could find that was mildly interesting was about giant Piranhas taking over Manhattan or something. I said “Let’s go to Walmart,” and the fact that He agreed so readily proved that He was as freaked out as I was.
Our youngest youngling was missing, so I took off looking for her. As I walked past a display of preschool toys, something laughed at me. Loudly. My pores tingled with an unpleasant feeling and I momentarily recalled the Twilight Zone episode “Stopover in a Quiet Town.” The protagonists of this creepy tale find themselves in a deserted town, and occasionally hear the loud giggle of a child as they try to get back home, only to discover that the child is a giant alien and they are her pets, brought by her daddy “all the way from Earth!” and are being held in a sort of Habitrail for Humans. Instead of a giant roller ball, they have a cute little train to entertain them.
Anyway, I realize it is not some alien being, only Elmo:
Thankfully, I catch sight of the youngling and urge her on to come with me. A worker several feet away from me knocked over a few items from a display, and cusses.
And Elmo laughed.
Never was I ever so glad to step inside a Walmart. Not surprisingly, I could not find A Christmas Story. I did come out with Holiday Inn, and I also nabbed The Outlaw Josey Wales for $1.96.
I think I’ll restrict my visits to Kame-apart to the daylight hours from now on, and definitely will stay away from the toy aisle. That place is CREEPY!